Illustrative image (Source: VNA)
Critical protected wetland areas and linked landscapes in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue and Thai Binh province in the north will be conserved under a four-year project launched on September 9.

The 18-million-USD project is funded by the Global Environment Fund via the UN Development Programme and implemented by the Vietnam Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE).

Speaking at the launching ceremony in Hanoi, Nguyen The Chinh, Director of the MoNRE’s Institute of Strategy and Policy on Natural Resources and Environment, said an estimated 30 percent of Vietnam’s national land area comprises inland and coastal wetlands.

These harbour considerable globally significant biodiversity and generate a vast array of ecosystem, he said.

However, the wetlands are under increasing threats from a range of economic activities, particularly conversion for agriculture and aquaculture, overexploitation of biotic resources and pollution.

Though Vietnam has established an extensive national system of protected areas (PAs) to conserve its biodiversity, wetlands are currently poorly represented within the national PA system.

Jan Rijpma, an UNDP expert, said the project seeks to develop institutional and operational capacity for effective wetlands biodiversity management in Vietnam nationally and at the provincial level in selected sites.

The project’s immediate objective is to establish new protected wetland areas and build capacity for their effective management to mitigate existing and emerging threats from connected landscapes.

The Ramsar Convention, to which Vietnam became a member in 1989, classifies the wetlands into 42 types globally, at least 39 of which are found in Vietnam.

Therefore, scientists and managers said with its two components, the project is expected to help reduce the degradation of bio-diversity in local wetlands.-VNA